In his new role Wright will ensure that the Government and stakeholders understand the importance of food and drink manufacturing, and support the industry to meet the changing needs of consumers.
Wright was corporate relations director at Diageo for almost ten years and sat on the executive committee. He left the company in March 2014.
Wright joined Diageo from Boots and has worked for other food and drinks businesses such as Pillsbury, Burger King and Mars. He has also held political comms roles for the SDP and the Liberal Democrats.
He is expected to join the federation before Easter.
Wright succeeds Melanie Leech, who left the FDF before Christmas to join the British Property Federation. Jim Moseley, a former president of the federation, has been acting as director general in the interim period.
Wright said: "The food and drink industry is a national asset of which everyone in the UK should be justly proud. It is responsible for 400,000 jobs and with a £80bn contribution to the economy the industry is critical to the UK. It's a privilege to be asked to lead its representative body and to be its advocate in the important challenges to come."
President of the FDF Fiona Kendrick added: "Ian has huge experience in the food and drinks industry and is ideally qualified to champion the sector during a period of extraordinary change. Jim Moseley has injected real passion and commitment into the role. We are grateful that he has agreed to stay with FDF until the end of the month to ensure a seamless transition."
FDF is based in London and has around 300 members.